How Can EOSC Change the EU Paradox?
Open science facilitates translating scientific research into innovations, because it creates a lot of opportunities for the business sector as well
The European Union is strong in basic research, but less so in innovation. This is the European Paradox, as it was coined by a European Commission Green Paper several years ago.
As Dr. István Szabó, Vice President for Innovation and General Affairs of the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office, a body providing funding and participating in policymaking related to research, pointed out during the EOSC Symposium in Budapest, Hungary is in a similar situation. The country ranks 23rd in the EU in the field of innovation determining competitiveness and economic growth, but, as he said, they are determined to change this and boost innovation.
This is one of the reasons why Hungary has been supporting the EOSC initiative since the beginning. “The EOSC will enhance scientific research and societal innovation, it will introduce a new way of working, thinking, experimenting and doing research,” István Szabó said, adding that EOSC can serve as a horizontal infrastructure that supports all other research infrastructures.
Therefore, open science is a necessity, he concluded, and Ivan Maric, EOSC Governance Board Croatia Delegate and Deputy Director & CTO at SRCE - University of Zagreb University Computing Centre agreed with him. “A culture of sharing is needed,” he said.
There are already several examples showing the potential of using open data for innovative projects. Zoe Cournia from the Biomedical Research Foundation at the Academy of Athens, Greece mentioned the mobile application Ingredio, with which users can take a photo of the ingredients of a cosmetics or food product, upload this photo, and, using data in the cloud, the app will analyze whether these ingredients are safe or toxic or allergenic or of natural origin.
Nevertheless, to introduce more innovative projects like this, “EOSC needs to be attractive, and its attractiveness is based on its content, on the data and services. If it is attractive for scientists, it will succeed,” Ivan Maric said.
This will be among the priorities of the upcoming Croatian Presidency in the EU, he continued. The Presidency will focus on fostering brain circulation instead of brain drain as well as on future jobs. As he said, “we are building on the next generation that is still sitting and studying at universities.”
“When we have a vision, a goal, it doesn’t mean that you have to accomplish everything at once,” Jean-François Abramatic, INRIA & EOSC Executive Board Member warned the participants of the Symposium, based on this experience as former chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium. As he said, “EOSC is trying to move from Gutenberg science to Berners-Lee science, from publications to sharing,” and this process is still in progress.
This was confirmed by Zoe Cournia who cited a survey according to which less than half of the researchers asked for the survey share their data. There are definitely challenges related to open data, she continued, for example how to store, manage and analyze such a huge amount of data, how to publish, how to share them, how to access repositories, but it has many advantages as well.
For example, science is expensive, but sharing data can reduce costs, simply by helping to avoid duplicating research. “Global open science is a driver for enabling a new paradigm of transparent, data-driven science as well as accelerating innovation,” she concluded.
Ivan Maric agreed: “It creates a lot of opportunities for the industry as well, a new economy will arrive which benefits the citizens, because it is important to remember that people are the key elements in any technology,” he said.